Easter’s always been a welcome break, even if we never know for sure when it’s taking place. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked it up in advance, only to forget and swear blind that it’s early April this year, not later in the month. Really, how many of us make it to three score and ten and confess to be Easter experts with a handle on its range?
But whenever it arrives, it’s an opportunity to recharge: perfect if you’d rather spend most of your holidays in Juli and Jul. With the three bank holiday weekends, which always tend to come in May, seeing out the first half of the year without succumbing to exhaustion is relatively easy in Denmark.
2022 awful for holidays
Our new columnist Conrad Molden (see Page 23), a British stand-up comedian based in Jutland, reckons we should bundle up the Easter-related holidays in the same way that Christian V created Store Bededag, the first of those aforementioned bank holiday weekends, and then let us take the remainder when we choose fit. After all, they’re so randomly chosen anyway, so why not?
Better, though, would be more bank holidays in the second half of the year. Keep the Easter break, and the Ascension Thursday bank holiday – most employers assume you’ll take the Friday off anyway, so for the price of one day’s holiday, you get a four-day weekend – but scrap Store Bededag and Pentecost.
Besides, if I was an Easter expert (so presumably a lunarologist), I could calculate the chances of these two days falling on either Labour Day (May 1) or Constitution Day (June 5), which are holidays for public workers in Denmark if they fall on a week-day. The killer for Denmark is that they are 35 days apart so always fall on the same day, and when they fall on a Sunday, like this year, Christmas Eve/Day and New Year’s Eve/Day fall over the weekend, so that’s six fewer holidays right there.
Wild turkey shoots
But let’s not pretend that Easter is very meaningful anymore in secular societies like Denmark. Lent, a 40-day period of fasting that officially ends the day before Easter Sunday, is observed by virtually no-one – really, it would be a wonder if any supermarket chain in northern Europe factors it into its thinking.
Alcohol is also supposed to be banned, but try these three words for size: St Patrick’s Day. In fact, the reason why it’s become such a piss-up is because the Catholic Church felt the need to hand it a reprieve from the strict laws in countries such as Ireland and the US.
Jesus Christ died, of course, and your time could be spent worse than watching ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, even if it is only to catch John Wayne’s immortal cameo. One thing’s for sure: he wasn’t fasting on the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon during that shoot.
Renewed spring in your step
Still, there are nice Danish traditions worth looking out for (see Pages 4 and 16) – making a ‘gækkebrev’ letter is probably the most fun, but perhaps as an observer of one of your children, as there’s a fine line between sending one and stalking.
Really, as this special edition confirms, this is a great time to embrace the spring. At the time of writing, it is snowing in Copenhagen, but we’re confident that Holy Week, which officially starts with Palm Sunday on April 10, will bring much warmer weather: rising to 10 degrees on the Tuesday and steadily climbing thereafter.
Given the poor weather of late, Easter is shaping up to be a break in more ways than one.